Heard about a young composer or her piece that sounds interesting? Try a YouTube search and there’s a half decent chance that not only will that piece – or at least some of that composer’s work – be available there to listen, but the score will also be synched up to follow as well. (Here’s a good one.) Hours and hours of labour volunteered to create one of the most valuable new music resources on the net. Indeed anywhere. I regularly read reports from musician friends about how difficult it is to obtain scores of older contemporary works from publishers. Quite a few publishers, it seems, don’t hold such things in stock – that is, copies of their clients’ work – and are unable to produce copies when requests are made for study or even(!) performance. In such an environment access to new music is going radically against the flow of all other information: backwards, not forwards.
Thank goodness for the YouTube channels scorefollower and incipitsify. They may not be able to do much about opening access to scores held under contract with major publishers (although they have had some success with these as well), but for composers not under contract they are showing their work to the world to an unprecedented extent. A casual browser without university library access can now discover more about the sounds and scores of composers in their 30s than about those in their 60s. I think that’s really amazing, even as it exposes the shortcomings of other parts of the system.
Anyway, scorefollower and incipitsify have recently joined forces, become slightly more professionalized (with legal representation and everything), and are starting to expand their operations. The most significant sign of that so far is their current commissioning project, #followmyscore16, a crowdfunded project to commission a new work, have it professionally recorded, and transformed into a new scorefollower video. Here’s a video about the project:
As they say, this is about putting something back into the new music community. The commission is well remunerated: $700 goes to the winning composer. The piece will be performed by the world class Ensemble Dal Niente. The competition will be judged by an all-star jury: Marcos Balter, Pierluigi Billone, Ashley Fure, Evan Johnson, Dmitri Kourliandsky, Klaus Lang, and Heather Roche.
For full terms and details of the project, visit scorefollower.com. Funding for the project reached its target of $2,500 a few days ago, but there is still a week to make donations via the Indiegogo crowdfunding page. Any monies raised over the $2,500 will go directly into the pot for the composer. (At the time of posting, the total stood at $2,750, so by my reckoning that makes a healthy commission fee of $950.)